It has been ten years since OMI introduced the first certified organic mattress to the US marketplace—and since then, the company has been hard at work expanding the certified organic sleep products category, offering consumers more choice. From the beginning, the company has remained committed to making certified organic sleep products more accessible to consumers. In addition to educating consumers about the health benefits of organic sleep, OMI has also developed a comprehensive product portfolio of more than 100 certified organic sleep products, including mattresses for all comfort levels, across a wide range of approachable price points. Beyond its unparalleled commitment to organic certification and product purity, OMI’s mattresses deliver multiple sales touch points—from greater comfort and durability to all certified organic latex, hybrid and two-sided constructions to authentic hand-made American manufacturing. For retailers, the company delivers a wealth of unique opportunities to connect with a wide range of consumers. With the introduction of its new online boxed bed brand and an expansive omni-channel marketing strategy, OMI continues to help new customers discover the benefits of organic sleep at retail and online.
The consumer awareness and interest in organic products has grown significantly in recent years. While food has been the most prominent organic group, the desire for “clean” ingredients has expanded across multiple product categories. According to a 2016 report from the Organic Trade Association, “sales of non-food organic products increased by almost 9 percent to $3.9 billion. Increasing consumer awareness that what we put on our body is as important as what we put in our body is driving the growth in organic fiber sales.” This increased awareness has had a real effect on the market as well. As the demand for organic has increased, the cost of these raw materials has gone down— which has effectively narrowed the retail price gap between most certified organic and conventional products.
As organic options have become more mainstream, consumers have become more discerning as well—not just about the ingredients that go into the products they buy, but the way in which they are made. Today’s consumers are not only interested in building a healthier environment for themselves and their family, they are conscious of supporting companies that are committed to more ethical and environmentally sound business practices as well. According to recent research from Mintel, a leading market research agency, 56% of consumers will stop buying from companies that they believe are unethical— while more than a third will tell their friends about brands they believe are honest, fair and responsible. OMI’s customers tell this same story, with over 70% of sales coming from repeat and referral customers.
While many companies have tried to capitalize on this growing demand for organic products—few can match the strict standards to which OMI has held itself from the beginning. Founded by Walt Bader in 2003, OMI was built on the belief that people who are looking to introduce certified organic products into their lifestyle should have the opportunity to purchase a certified organic mattress as well, consumers’ goal is simply to reduce their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals that are emitted from synthetic raw materials. That same year, the company opened the doors of its Eco Factory—an unprecedented manufacturing facility that remains unrivaled in today’s bedding landscape. Located in Northern California, OMI’s Eco Factory was the first sleep product manufacturing facility in America to receive certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). In addition to being smoke- and fragrance-free, the facility utilizes air purifiers that cleanse the compressed air and even sanitizes its raw materials to reduce natural contaminants like mold, mildew, yeasts and bacteria, which could otherwise migrate into the facility and finished goods. With an equal focus on “cleanliness, quality control and production,” the Eco Factory team makes every OMI mattress and sleep product by hand. In addition to ensuring greater quality control, handmade labor is also less energy consuming than a manufacturing process that relies primarily on machinery and automation—the OMI Eco-Factory itself releases no toxic pollutants of any kind into the environment and recycles nearly all of its production scrap.
“Sustainability and environmentalism is who we are and what we are about,” says OMI CEO Jeff Bader. “OMI has always been and continues to be the standard for certified purity. We don’t compromise with our raw materials or manufacturing or green wash in our advertising. We are an authentic and honest, family-owned company and we are proud to manufacture our own products at our own factory right here in the USA.”
More than just following strict organic standards, OMI has been driving the category forward. In fact, the company was instrumental in crafting the organic global latex standard (GOLS). In 2008, OMI became the first company in the US to introduce a fully certified organic latex mattress—and has since expanded its offerings to include more than 100 certified organic sleep products, including 20 mattress models across three distinct collections, with retail price points ranging from $1,995 to $11,495 in queen.
“People are driven to purchase our bedding products today in part for the same reasons that they buy any bedding—comfort,” Bader explains. “But educated and health-conscious as they are, organic bedding consumers want more than physical comfort. They also want the psychological comfort of knowing they are experiencing a long-term, healthful sleep environment choice for themselves and their family.”
In addition to its ongoing commitment to making cleaner and healthier bedding options more available to the public, OMI has also remained steadfastly dedicated to helping its retail partners succeed over the years. As the consumer interest in natural products continues to grow, it’s more profitable than ever for retailers to carry certified organic bedding. Today, more than 80% of US households are already buying organic products for their homes and families—and nearly six in ten consumers are opting for organic options over conventional products when given a choice. With organic demand increasing retailers cannot afford to miss out on an opportunity to introduce these consumers to the organic mattress category—OMI provides a wide range of products (for both adults and children) and price points so that retailers can meet this growing segment of customers.
While many of OMI’s retailer partners have been champions of the organic lifestyle themselves, it is far from a requirement for sales success. For many retailers and consumers, the organic certifications and product purity are a secondary benefit to the level of comfort and quality OMI’s mattress programs deliver. “Whatever a retailer’s motivation to carry our line may be,” says Bader, “OMI’s products sell on their merits—beautiful, comfortable, durable, handmade and made-to-order latex mattresses that feature a 20-year warranty.”
At the premium level, OMI offers retailers a wide array of mattress options across its OrganicPedic and OrganicPedic Earth collections. Since it first debuted in 2008, the OrganicPedic Collection has been expanded to deliver a wide array of comfort levels and construction choices. With 15 different mattress models (including youth, crib and hide-a-bed options), the line ranges from plush to extra-firm with latex and innerspring designs, as well as latex and innerspring combinations. For consumers looking for a more plush mattress feel, OrganicPedic Earth is made from softer latex cores and unique instructions that are designed specifically to deliver ultra-plush to firm comfort. Both lines are certified organic to either the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification.
“Within these two deep collections, we offer fully customizable capabilities, including varying height sizes and a wide variety of price points, fabrics and comfort levels,” Bader explains. “These collections demonstrate well OMI’s significant manufacturing skill and commitment to certified organic luxury for home, boat, RV, planes and even corner cut-outs for four-poster beds.”
Every OMI mattress is handmade from premium certified organic raw materials that are not only luxurious and functional—but easy to understand at the retail level. The company’s beds are built from a short “ingredient list” that, for the most part, includes just certified organic latex, cotton and wool. Like with other consumer goods, this simplicity can be a real selling point for customers looking for greater transparency in their products. Of course, mattresses are not sold on materials alone—even certified organic ones. Though purity may be a main concern for some consumers, all customers are looking for something that will help them achieve a better night sleep—the fact that the mattress is environmentally-friendly is a bonus.
“While certified organic purity is who we are and what we believe in, it isn’t always the purchase-decision driver for consumers and retailers,” Bader explains. “Often, luxurious comfort, customizability, quality and durability is why consumers choose OMI over other organic or conventional brands.”
In order to ensure the highest level of comfort, the company has taken care to equip its mattress portfolio with an array of personalization options. Beyond offering a wide range of dual comfort levels across the different collections, OMI also provides multiple customizable mattress models made with interchangeable comfort and support layers that make comfort fitting a breeze for the retailer. Both the OrganicPedic 81 and Duo mattresses feature unique “sleep zones” tailored to each sleeper and can be adjusted over time by merely changing out a layer.
“When a standard comfort level isn’t exactly right, having the ability to custom fit a mattress is of tremendous value and that frequently sets us apart,” Bader says. “To do this right, there was a wide range of latex formulas and sleep surfaces that had to be custom engineered for OMI over a period of many years. These feels and unique surfaces are kept on hand by our retail partners, for use in custom fitting mattresses to sleepers who desire or require the fine tuning of their mattress.”
In addition to its premium mattress options, OMI also offers a full suite of certified organic sheets, pillows, comforters, blankets and mattress and pillow protection. In addition to helping consumers create their own complete sleep system, these products also provide retailers with an ideal opportunity to introduce new customers to the organic category.
“Organic bedding buyers are frequently ‘aspiring mattress buyers’ who are considering organic mattresses for a future purchase and wish to start creating their organic ‘nest’ now,” Bader explains. “From a business perspective, OMI’s accessory-add-on sales are significantly higher than industry averages. This is true because organic customers are not inclined to dress their organic mattresses with conventional, synthetic bedding.”
Once thought to be an exclusively luxury product, OMI has been working to make organic sleep products more accessible to all consumers—without sacrificing its quality standards. In 2017, the company introduced its entry-level REST Collection with five mattresses that start at a $1,995 retail price point. Combining pocket-coil technology with GOTS-certified organic cotton and wool and GOLS-certified natural latex, the REST line delivers an exceptionally comfortable certified organic offering at a more approachable price point than ever before. The collection includes three mattress models—the Stella, the Rossa and the Clara Nouveau. All of the mattresses utilize a pocket coil system encased in a renewable, plant-derived cotton envelope and a top layer of certified organic latex that again allows for a variety of customized comfort levels. Made with a traditional tape-edge construction, the Stella delivers the supportive feel of springs while minimizing motion transfer—along with the option of sculpting the latex comfort layers to provide pressure point relief and promote cooler sleep. In addition to the pocket coil system and latex surface layer, the Rossa also features a split configuration option with a zippered cover that makes it easy for consumers to manually adjust each side of the mattress individually. The Rossa was OMI’s first foray into online-friendly mattresses, as it can be drop-shipped directly to the customer’s door in three boxes.
OMI recently took this approach a step further with the introduction of The Metta Bed at the Winter Las Vegas Market—its answer to the in-store and online bed-in-a-box movement. With a growing number of allegedly “organic” and “natural” boxed bed options cropping up, OMI realized it had something these other brands could not offer: a trusted name with many years of quality and transparency. Manufactured alongside all of the company’s other certified organic mattress offerings, the Metta Bed features many of the same premium certified organic raw materials for which the company is known, including GOTS-certified cotton and wool, without any synthetic or chemical fire retardants. Each mattress is made from layers of premium certified botanical rubber latex that is free from nearly all the chemical “fillers” used in synthetic products. With price points comparable to popular online mattress brands, single-box delivery, 0% financing and a comfort exchange program the Metta Bed is a valuable addition to OMI’s growing slate of products—and a new opportunity for retailers to connect with a new type of consumer that shops predominantly online.
“So many consumers are shopping online for mattresses and bedding, OMI retailers need a stand-out product for the at-home online shopper, with the features and price points that shopper has come to expect in a mattress,” Bader explains. “The alternative would be to not participate in online, and we just don’t see that as a viable long-term option our retailers. We believe the online channel can drive direct sales, but more importantly we believe it can be leveraged to drive retail traffic.”
Available in plush, medium and firm models, the Metta Bed delivers added customization in the form of an interchangeable top comfort layer. During the 120-Night Comfort Guarantee period, customers can take advantage of a one-time comfort layer exchange. The zippered cover allows the customer to easily swap out the latex layer for a softer or firmer option—in addition to simplifying the process of setting up or “unboxing” the mattress. While the Metta Bed fulfills many of the expectations of today’s online mattress market, brick-and-mortar retailers do not need to worry about the new line negatively impacting their in-store sales. In fact, OMI developed the line with the retail market in mind.
“We are a committed partner for our retail store owners and feel there is an opportunity to be online with a great product, without disrupting our distribution,” Bader says. “With Metta Bed, we count on our retail partners to floor the mattress and bedding products to give consumers an opportunity to try the product in their store.”
This dedication to brick-and-mortar retail has always been and continues to be an essential part of the OMI story. Over the years, the company has avoided selling OMI branded products online—but has instead developed new programs that will engage with these consumers where and how they shop today. With distribution extending to hundreds of locations across the country, the company is looking to offer greater digital support to its retail partners in the future—as well as continue to expand this brick-and-mortar retail network.
Today, more than 80% of US households are already buying organic products for their homes and families—and nearly six in ten consumers are opting for organic over conventional products when given a choice.
While the demand for certified organic products is growing, the awareness of organic mattresses is still in its infancy. For Bader, this represents a huge opportunity for retailers. “Once the majority of already-organic-leaning consumers become aware of organic sleep alternatives,” he suggests, “the influx of new organic sleep product consumers will be tremendous.”
As the company looks ahead to the future, one of its main focuses will be on continuing to get the word out about organic—tapping into new national advertising platforms to deliver its message and expand its consumer reach. With new products and programs already in the works, OMI remains committed to helping more people find the products they need to create a cleaner, more healthful sleep environment.